One of the key technologies in making the 802.11ac wireless standard useful to consumers is something called beamforming, a method of strengthening the signal in the direction of a particular device that supports it, in order to deliver a better experience and faster connection speeds. The next step up from that is a technology called MU-MIMO, or multi-user multi-in-multi-out, where a single device gets access to a guaranteed portion of the wireless bandwidth. MU-MIMO routers have been very expensive for the past two years, but this is starting to change. Linksys has just launched the EA7500 MAX-STREAM AC1900 for $199 (approx. R3000*) overseas, and when it lands locally it’ll be the cheapest MU-MIMO router available.
The EA7500 is a wireless router, intended to serve as the backbone of your home’s network while connecting to the internet through a RJ45 WAN port. It boasts three antennae for coverage in the 2.5GHz and 5.0GHz ranges, along with four gigabit Ethernet ports, two USB ports, and hardware buttons to reset the router and turn the Wi-Fi off. The AC1900 standard provides for 1.3Gbps connectivity on the 5.0GHz band, while the 2.4GHz band is capable of 600Mbps transfer speeds, together making up the 1.9Gbps rating.
The only caveat with the EA7500 is that it is only a 2×2 MU-MIMO, so only two devices get to enjoy the enhanced functionality that it offers. As more devices are added on that support the older SU-MIMO standard (which is there several devices had full bandwidth access, but took turns to access it), there will be less available bandwidth to share. Linksys also makes the EA8500, priced at $250 overseas, that features four antennae and 4×4 MU-MIMO for greater compatibility. I haven’t seen Linksys routers available locally in general, so finding stock of the EA-8500 might be a bit tricky.